Adult Education Great Cities Summit
Adult Basic and Literacy Education Fact Sheet
Archived Information

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Adult education students in large urban areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago and Houston comprise a significant portion of all students served in federally funded adult education programs. [ 1 ] The challenges and opportunities that adult education stakeholder groups face in these large urban areas are often times noticeably distinct from those confronted in other areas of the county. [ 2 ]

All students, regardless of geographic location, should graduate from high school prepared for college and a career and have the opportunity to complete at least one year of postsecondary education. To achieve these goals, educators, including adult educators, must dramatically improve student achievement and close the achievement gap. Extending these goals to urban settings require new thinking and thoughtful conversations among federal, State and local adult education leaders.


Through a series of summit meetings, this initiative explored the needs and concerns of adult education students, teachers, and local program administrators in large, urban settings. The benefits to the five participating cities included: enhanced teacher capacity for providing evidence-based instruction, access to evidence-based resources, and technical assistance in building capacity for coordination among key partners.

Project Milestones

  • Selected five cities.
  • Convened five meetings of city teams.

Outcomes and Products

  • Four policy briefs:
    • Coalition Building: A Tool for Improved Community Literacy.
    • From Ghost Systems to Host Systems Via Transformation Zones.
    • Implementing Literacy Programs to Improve Student Achievement.
    • What Is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction and How Do You Know It When You See It?


Sheryl Adler:

1 For example, in a February 19, 2009 speech in New York City, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted how New York City accounted for more than 40% of student enrollment in New York state.

2 See, for example, Martin, L. and Rogers, E. (Eds.) (2004). Adult Education in an Urban Context: Problems, Practices, and Programming for Inner-City Communities. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Number 101. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Or, Rodgers, A. (2005). Urban Literacy: Communication, Identity and Learning in Development Contexts. Hamburg, Germany: UNESCO Institute for Education.

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Last Modified: 02/20/2019